Thali Menu #132 – Kashmir | Winter Foods
Kashmir is the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent, it has been described by famous Persian poet Amir Khusru “as a paradise on earth”, also called the ‘Switzerland of the East’.
Historically, Kashmir became known worldwide when Cashmere wool was exported globally. Kashmiris are adept at knitting and making Pashmina shawls, silk carpets, rugs, kurtas, and pottery. Saffron, too, is cultivated and exported from Kashmir. The region is also known for its silver-work, papier-mâché, wood-carving, and the weaving of silk.
‘Kashur khyon’ or Kashmiri Cuisine is influenced by its geographical position, cultural, religious traditions. Wazwan is a multi-course feast and is synonymous with Kashmiri Cuisine.
‘Zaika-e-Kashmir’ – ‘Tastes of Kashmir’
The region offers a wide array of food items, particularly authentic non-veg cuisines made of chicken, mutton and fish, some of which has become hugely popular across the nation and globally like the Rogan Josh, Kashmiri Pulao or Phirni or Phiren.
The Kashmiri cuisine also prides itself for some exquisite vegetarian dishes mostly influenced by the traditional cuisines of the Kashmiri Pundit (Brahmin) community and the Mughlai cuisines.
Generally, Kashmiri cuisines, most of which are marked with ample use of saffron, turmeric, and yogurt are quite rich in flavour and mild in taste with curries that are light.
Spices like cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and fennel which are generally considered to warm the body are used widely in different Kashmiri cuisines, while garlic and onion are not used much.
Dry fruits are also used extensively in different Kashmiri dishes, especially in preparing curries.
Due to its harsh geographic and climatic conditions dried fruits, vegetables, fish and meats formed an integral part of Kashmiri cuisine through the long winter season, that is changing today with fresh fruits and vegetables becoming more accessible all year round.
At Daana this weekend, you will be savouring some delicacies from the region that are traditionally considered to be winter foods. So, come join us and relish the flavours of this most scenic part of India.
Recipe of the week
Chef Sanjay’s Dal Makhani
Slow cooked black dal with garlic, tomato, butter and cream
- 280 gms Whole urad dal (black lentil)
- 60 gms Red kidney beans
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- Pinch of asafoetida
- 650 ml Tomato puree
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 green chilli crushed
- 10 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1” piece ginger finely chopped
- 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
- ½ tsp garam masala powder
- ½ tsp crushed Kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
- 100 gms butter
- 60 ml single cream
- 1 tbsp chopped coriander for garnish
- ½ ” ginger slivers for garnish
- 1.5 to 2 ltrs Water for cooking dal
- Soak the black lentils and kidney beans overnight in a bowl in plenty of water.
- In a large heavy bottom stock-pot add the black lentil and kidney beans along with the water and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer on a low heat for an hour. Stir a few times and scarp of the foam from the top. Continue cooking for further 1 hour and 30 minutes
- Drain, reserving the cooking water and set aside to use for later. Mash the lentils till you have a coarse consistency. You want some lentils whole but most of it mashed.
In a heavy bottom large stockpot heat the oil, add the asafoetida, chilli and cumin seeds. Let them crackle for few seconds and add the garlic and ginger for frying for a further 30 seconds, add chilli powder. Cook till the oil seperates.
- Add the tomato puree and fry for a further 3 minutes to let it cook
- Season to taste and add the mashed dal. Stir well and make sure to mix all the spices with the dal
- Add 650 mls cooking liquid and stir. Bring to a boil and simmer for 60-90 minutes on a very low heat with the lid on. Make sure to stir a few times preventing it from sticking to the bottom of the pan
- The dal should be thick and creamy so add a little more water only if you need to. Add the garam masala powder along with the butter. Stir well simmering for a minute
- Just before you serve add crushed Kasoori methi, butter, a swirl of cream, fresh coriander and ginger. Serve with paratha or pulao
Serve with paratha or pulao